[OPE-L:2220] testing marx

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 15 May 1996 02:40:37 -0700

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Alan takes me to task for both holding the view that conformity
to Marx is not a relevant criterion for a theory, and having
published, along with Greg and Allin a paper called Testing

The point about that, however, was not to test the conformity
of our theories with those of Marx but to test the conformity
of Marx to historical data.

At the time we wrote it, we were unaware that there was a body
of opinion that disputed that Marx had a labour theory of value.
For a century or so the accepted view has been that Marx was,
along with Smith and Ricardo a proponent of the labour theory
of value. In following this list, I have become aware that in
the last decade or so, some authors have started to contest this.
If we had been aware of that when we wrote the article we
might have been more cautious in the language we used, or
put a footnote in to the effect that some authors dispute the
attribution of a labour theory of value to Marx.

Whether or not Marx was the originator of what is conventionally
called the marxist theory of value is a question for the history
of ideas. Irrespective of that, the theory exists in the literature
and is worthy of test.
Paul Cockshott